5 Professional Tools For Growing Die Hard Fans
March 17th, 2017 by Circa
You’ve seen tons of artists blow up out of nowhere with thousands of die hard fans.
It seems like they have some kind of secret, right? Something they won’t reveal in interviews? Don’t you feel like they’re not telling you something?
Well, you’re not alone, and you don’t have to keep wondering.
Before I started Indepreneur, I helped hundreds of artists create successful brands, singles, projects, and release campaigns as Vice President of Studio 18 in Orlando, FL.
Even though I’ve achieved massive results and helped launch a few careers, I spent my first two years working way too hard. I didn’t understand the way that online marketing really works and I didn’t understand how to use the tools of the trade. I wasn’t generating sustainable growth…
Now, I am able to leverage a handful of reliable tools to create widely publicized music release campaigns that generate enormous audiences of directly engaged fans… and this is all based on one fundamental, easy to understand, well-hidden secret:
“Successful artists make and maintain profitable, human relationships
with large groups of like minded individuals”
Sounds simple right? Maybe even a little generic? Most often, the best solution is the simplest solution. It’s simple because it serves as an effective guideline to understanding how to find your audience. Knowing this fundamental principle, you only need a few tools – most of which can be quickly mastered – to begin building enormous success as an indie artist.
Here’s what you need, why you need it, and what we use to achieve epic results:
1. Professionals Have A Way To Build Websites (Content Management System)
Being a working musician is difficult enough – do you have time learn three programming languages to code your own website?
Me ‘neither. This is where Content Management Systems (CMS) step in.
Chances are, if you have been an indie artist for a while you have gotten familiar with one or more of these platforms. A CMS platform allows you to build your website without knowing how to code. CMS platforms range from stupid simple (Squarespace is a drag-and-drop visual platform) to incredibly frustrating (WordPress will steal your soul). You will need to be at least a little web savvy to get one of these things working…
I see a lot of independent artists building out huge websites, in fact I used to professionally recommend that they do so. Now, I’m walking that recommendation back a few yards…
No matter how die-hard your fan is, they’re probably not going to spend their days clicking around your website. Fans go to websites for a specific action and once they take it, they BOUNCE. This is why most artist websites have a lot of traffic going to 1 of up to 8 pages and then immediately exiting the website. If enough users bounce off of your page without exploring, Google will begin to think you are hiding something. This is why I recommend going for a bang-for-your-buck approach.
Instead of building 8 pages at once and launching a website, I recommend building one page at a time based on need. That’s why…
WE USE: ClickFunnels
ClickFunnels is a CMS platform dedicated to landing pages. Ever seen an ad on Facebook or some blog that offered you something extremely cool and useful in a FREE INSTANT download?
I know I have. Within seconds I’m on some website I’ve never seen before entering my personal information for the “9 Most Clickable Headline Formulas In Copy Writing”. This isn’t a mistake and it’s not some scam – it’s a landing page. Landing pages take viewers from a specific traffic source to a dedicated web page that is meant to do one thing – convert.
Some landing pages get your e-mail, some landing pages sell you a product, and some landing pages just get you to read a blog post (wink wink). ClickFunnels allows you to rapidly develop good-looking landing pages that can be instantly integrated with every other fan-building tool you use. If you can master it, you’ll be able to run traffic campaigns like a Music Marketing Jedi and convert tons of supporting fans.
ClickFunnels is also packed with templates for “conversion funnels”, which are sequences of landing pages that take potential fans through a series of actions or steps. Here is an example of an Album Launch funnel we built for our Testing Grounds artist Nino Bless.
2. Professionals Have A Platform For E-Mail Marketing (an autoresponder)
If you’re not already involved in email marketing, it may come as a surprise to you that email marketing is still the number one most profitable form of marketing for most businesses (QuickSprout).
As an independent artist, you run a small business. So, as an entrepreneur, you NEED to be thinking about a return on your investment.
For e-mail campaigns, business owners use an entirely different type of platform called an “autoresponder”. Autoresponders are tools like MailChimp, Aweber, Constant Contact, and many many more that perform a number of important email marketing tasks. You can create email lists and connect them to forms on your website for automatic sign-up, you can store critical data about people on your list like their phone number, age, favorite food, or any other question you can get them to answer.
But what is MOST important…
Autoresponders give you data based on your email campaigns. When you send an email through an autoresponder platform, the software will tell you how many people opened your message, clicked links in your message, unsubscribed from your list, etc. This allows you to create powerful sub-sections of your list that group subscribers based on how likely they are to respond or click.
Autoresponders are incredibly important for building warm audiences and raving fans. You can easily send out daily or weekly emails and monitor the success of your campaigns. You can even split test different headlines, images, or messages to see what works.
Another important feature of autoresponders is the auto… as in “automation”. Most autoresponders allow you to automatically send emails or multi-message sequences based on certain triggers. Isn’t that crazy? You can use this feature of autoresponders to stay current with your fan base and react to their level of activity.
There are a shitload of autoresponders out there, but…
WE USE: MailChimp
MailChimp allows you to send up to 12,000 messages to up to 2,000 subscribers for FREE.
When an autoresponder service starts off with a free platform of that caliber, you’ve got to assume they’re putting their money where their mouth is. Upgrading to a paid account will get you features like automation, enhanced analytics, and a virtually unlimited amount of subscribers and messages…
That last feature is due to the fact that MailChimp institutes a very sensible pay-as-you-go policy that scales your costs with the size of your campaigns. You only pay for what you need as opposed to a tiered system. MailChimp also boasts built-in integration for tons of other applications, and most CMS platforms have built-in integration for MailChimp.
If you want to get a free MailChimp account, click here.
3. Professionals Have Automated 1-to-1 Marketing Solutions (chatbots)
So, you’ve got a website up and running. You’re gathering fans on your Facebook page. You’re getting people to sign up for your email list. You’re marketing to them effectively…
And all of a sudden, the messages start pouring in! Our flagship artist, Nino Bless, receives an average of 27 messages a day from new listeners. Responding to these new listeners quickly has TONS of advantages.
First, if you keep your response time very quick and you respond to a fair amount of messages, Facebook will allow you to turn on your “Very responsive to Messages” badge. This badge tells new listeners that you are a communicative artist and, if they message you, they will definitely get a direct reply. The relationships we are able to create in 1-to-1 Facebook messages result in more sales and lifelong fans than any other communication channel outside of direct telephone calls and live streams.
Second, the more responsive you are, the higher Facebook prioritizes your Page’s content. Facebook will put you in front of more people if it knows that they will have a good experience interacting with your brand.
So, the benefit is two-fold. But, keeping up with all these messages can be overwhelming. If you fall behind, your response time will suffer and potential fans will feel alienated.
ManyChat is a chatbot for Facebook Messenger…
But it’s ALSO an autoresponder for Facebook Messenger…
It also has a bunch of other amazing capabilities and, judging by our conversations with their support team, a lot more coming. What ManyChat allows you to do is capture anyone who messages your page as a “Subscriber”. You can set up an automatic reply for each new subscriber so that they are instantly met with a welcome message, and that’s where the fun begins…
For Nino Bless we have set up ManyChat to tell each new Messenger subscriber how long (on average) Nino takes to get to each message personally.
We then offer them Nino’s latest album for free and an exclusive bonus song to enjoy while they wait.
For Indepreneur’s Facebook page, we have set up an entire chatbot named IndieBot. The workflow for IndieBot is gigantic – but he can do some really cool things!
But Welcome Messages are just the tip of the iceberg for ManyChat. You can set up a main menu to give each subscriber multiple activities to enjoy while they wait. You could offer music, discounted merchandise/CDs, exclusive videos- even choose-your-own-adventure stories and spin-the-wheel style games.
When you begin to apply your creativity to what ManyChat can do, the sky is far from the limit. ManyChat even allows you to set up sequences of messages that occur over multiple days and change based on user interaction. Even crazier, you can set up keywords in ManyChat that, when entered by your fans, trigger otherwise hidden sequences. Using this functionality, you can advertise secret keyword offers using Facebook Messenger Ads and grow your list exponentially!
We are just scratching the surface of what ManyChat can do and, judging by the features that ManyChat will be rolling out soon, we will have our hands full all of 2017. And did we mention that ManyChat can also accept payments?
Sign up for ManyChat today and see what it can do!
4. Professionals Have A Plan For Tapping New Audiences (paid traffic)
There are tons of ways to get your music in more ears. I’m not going to list them all for you here; that is for another article on another day. I am here to stake my professional reputation on the idea that the number one way to generate new fans from cold, unaware audiences is paid traffic.
Because paid traffic is targeted traffic – as opposed to getting placed on a blog, which is very untargeted.
“A source of new listeners is only as effective as the amount of new fans it leads to.”
When you get your song placed on a blog, you are putting your message and brand in front of a large audience (hopefully). This audience:
- isn’t targeted to your brand characteristics. ..
- isn’t guaranteed to like artists that have a similar sound…
- isn’t being directed to your opt-ins or encouraged to follow you on social media…
- won’t see who else has interacted with your content (unless you have a lot of comments)
Do traffic sources like blog placements work? Yes, they work very well… for a very small group of people. Paid traffic works for everyone. Regardless of what your brand is, regardless of the kind of music you make – if you are talented, your audience is out there somewhere. You can go find them one by one, or you can realize that existing paid traffic platforms can find your audience so effectively that they make all other methods seem… stupid.
WE USE: Facebook Ads
For everything? Yes. For everything.
There is no platform that has more content-seeking eyeballs on it than Facebook. Content is the number one reason that we use Facebook in the first place. If you need to get your content in front of a new audience, Facebook is the single most effective place to do so by a gigantic margin in every single category.
So how do other platforms stack up to Facebook?
You could use Google AdWords, but you’d be targeting based on keyword searches, and people who are entering high volume keywords into Google aren’t looking for you. Your music is an annoyance that gets in the way of the thing they were actually looking for. You might as well make your album cover a dual nude of the 2016 Presidential candidates.
You could use YouTube, but then you’d really be hitting people where they don’t give a shit.
You could use Twitter, but it seems like Twitter Ads is just a copycat of Facebook with 1/4th the users, and Twitter has very few data points on you…
Facebook, however, knows everything about you. Facebook knows your interests, your income, your online activity, your spending habits, your sexual activity. And Facebook knows how likely you are to respond to an advertisement. So, when you run ad campaigns for paid traffic on Facebook, Facebook makes its ads cheaper over time by targeting only the types of users who would most likely interact with your ad…
Think about that. Facebook becomes more effective and cheaper as you run your campaign. It gets better for you. I could write an entire book on why Facebook is the single greatest customer and fan finding platform that the free market has ever encountered…
My general point is that Facebook is the only paid traffic solution you really need to worry about until long after you’ve mastered it.
5. Professionals Have A Plan For Distributing To Blogs (press and publicity)
For most independent artists, getting on blogs has become the all consuming goal of their career. You would think that getting placed on blogs comes with some sort of cash prize. Well, it doesn’t. In fact, getting on blogs can cost you a lot of money.
There is an ocean of digital publicist firms out there that promise to help you get your music on the right press outlets. According to publicity expert Dylan Rehmer of Filter PR, that ocean is “infested with sharks“.
Scammers with little to no connections are rampant on the internet and you can easily end up paying $1000 for a publicity campaign that gets you zero results. That’s why, for our clients, we use a trusted publicist with years of experience in the industry and the strongest local track record. Digital PR campaigns can only be as effective as the brand that they promote, so you should be well familiar with all the tools listed here BEFORE you start thinking about blog coverage.
But, once you’re there, is your only option really shelling out $500-$1000 bucks to get your song placed on a few well-circulated blogs?
No. There’s alternatives.
WE USE: SubmitHub
SubmitHub started as a side-project by IndieShuffle creator Jason Grishkoff. Seeing a hole in the “blog submission” market (and being a savvy entrepreneur), Jason started SubmitHub as a way for independent artists to reliably submit their music for review to top music blogs.
No more submitting to thousands of blogs without even being sure if the email is right. No more waiting days on end for an unhelpful response – or worse, no response at all…
SubmitHub has signed up with most of the major blogs and indie labels on the internet. You can go here to see a complete list of them. SubmitHub allows you to submit a given track to any of these blogs or labels in exchange for “credits”.
Just for signing up to SubmitHub, you will be given 2 credits for general blog submission. These credits are nearly useless – the true value of SubmitHub lies in premium credits. Premium credits cost $5 for a pack of 5, $9 for 10, $25 for 30, or $40 for 50. You can submit to any blog or label for 1 premium credit. When you use a premium credit, the blog or label has to listen to at least 20 seconds of your song within 48 hours. If they choose not to cover the song, they have to tell you why.
We ran a stress test of SubmitHub to see how it works. I posted my song “Long Lost Brother” on SoundCloud and made sure not to post it anywhere but SubmitHub. Then, I purchased 30 premium credits and submitted to as many blogs as I could.
Out of 26 blogs that responded, 5 covered the single, and 16 gave specific, informative reasons why they did not want to cover the song. Some of them even gave an alternate submission address to see if their other writers might want to cover it. In one week, we gained 5 Google-indexed song reviews with roughly 3.5k plays solely from that traffic.
SubmitHub is a great way to earn some coverage in lieu of a dedicated publicity campaign. If your material is good, SubmitHub will save you a lot of money getting on some top-tier blogs and will give you direct access to their opinion. This is CRUCIAL. If you can improve upon your sound, your mix, or your writing because of this feedback, you will place more blogs than you did before. It’s a simple reality. This service can help you prepare your sound for major markets.
Some groups use SubmitHub in place of a digital publicist…
We do not recommend this! Choosing the right digital publicist when the time is right can help you bridge the gap between popular blog and major media outlet.
What’s most important is not what method or app or product you employ to get these things done – you just need to get them done…
Regardless of what products you use, you need these tools in your arsenal in order to generate a profitable fan base. I’ve seen many different artists use many different tools that they have experience with – it’s just about finding a comfortable platform and using it consistently.
What are you guys using to build your fan base?